Whole Roasted Cauliflower is the Best

3 minutes, 14 seconds Read

The recipe may appear simple, but it threw me off. I roasted seven heads of cauliflower to get it right! It was worth it in the end.

The whole cauliflower roasting game has a few secrets. I’ll show you!

It is simple to make this recipe, as it only requires five ingredients.

Tip #1: Make a sauce with spices (such as a shawarma spice mix* or harissa*), oil, maple syrup, and salt. This will produce a marinade that is full of flavor and perfect for slathering on your cauliflower.

Tip # 2: Turn your cauliflower upside-down to allow the sauce to pour down its core. Shake it to infuse the center. Flip the cauliflower back over and rub the remaining sauce on the outside with a brush.

Tip # 3: To add even more flavor, sprinkle a little more salt and spice on the outside.

Tip # 4: Put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to steam the cauliflower and make it softer. As long as you do not over-bake, the cauliflower will remain perfectly tender. This tip was taken from the New York Times.

Tip #5: Broil the outer edge of the dish at the very last minute.



  • One medium-sized head of cauliflower (1/4 – 2 lbs or 550-950g // 5-7 inches or 12-18 cm wide)
  • If oil is not available, use two tablespoons of avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • Water 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp blend of spices for shawarma (or curry powder*, or a mixture of similar spices/ plus more for the exterior)
  • 1 tsp paste harissa ( optional/ increase spice for more spice/ decrease spice for less spice)
  • If you are avoiding sugar, leave out the maple syrup.
  • Use 1/2 teaspoon sea salt for exterior (plus additional).


  • Magic Green Sauce
  • Fresh parsley
  • Cooked quinoa*


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (204 C). Fill a small baking dish half full with water and place it on the bottom (floor) of the stove. This will help to cook the cauliflower more evenly by providing steam.
  • Cut off the bottom of the stalk, but do not remove too much of it. For baking, you want to keep the whole head intact. Remove any green leaves that remain and place them in a cast iron skillet (or another oven-safe pan).
  • Mix avocado oil or coconut oil with water, shawarma paste, maple syrup, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add more shawarma if you want a smoky taste, more harissa paste for spice, more maple syrup to sweeten, and more salt if you prefer a stronger overall flavor.
  • Turn your cauliflower upside-down and pour the sauce. Pour the sauce down the core and shake it to infuse the center. Flip the cauliflower over, then use a toothbrush to rub any leftover sauce on the outside. Add an extra pinch to the spice and salt blend on the outside of the cauliflower before baking.
  • Place the skillet into the oven and roast for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size of the cauliflower. Or until a knife can easily penetrate its core. Burning longer will result in a softer cauliflower. Roast cauliflower for a shorter time if you want it to have a bit of bite.
  • For a brown exterior, turn up the heat to high broil and continue to roast for 2-4 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
  • Allow cauliflower to rest in the pan for 5-10 more minutes if necessary. This will continue to soften the core. Enjoy the dish as-is, or add desired sides and sauces. We chose quinoa with Curry Powder.
  • The leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat the pieces in an oven at 350 degrees F (176 C).
  • For stuck bits in cast iron pans, soak the pan with warm water for 5 minutes and then scrub with a medium to firm bristle brush. For more information about cleaning and cooking cast iron, please see our guide.

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